Colombia Hotel Tips by richiecdisc Top 5 Page for this destination
Colombia Hotels: 95 reviews and 164 photos
cute murals add some atmosphere
Though Mompós has many accommodation options, La Casa Amarilla seems to have completely taken over the backpackers' market. It's for good reason and is now perhaps a few notches above its original incarnation as well as a bit higher in prices quoted in the most recent guidebooks. Since we had so much success haggling over bus fares we figured we would do the same with the room when quoted 60,000 COP (20,000 more than in the guide!) for a double with private bath. They would not budge so I left Doreen in the common room and went to have a look around town. I found some very cheap places but they were really hovels and not the pleasant rooms we had envisioned on our swing through Colombia's Bayou region. I also found some places for 50000 COP that were very nice but much smaller than the room we'd been shown at La Casa. I went back with my tail between my legs to talk it over with my wife but by the time I'd returned, they had dropped the price to 50000 COP ($25) so we gladly took it without much deliberation.
The location is on the outskirts of town just slightly but right on the riverfront. The combination makes it a very quiet scenic spot. It is also next to the prettiest church in town so great for getting photos of it early in the morning. There is a convenient beer garden out front that makes your nightlife choice simple too. The building is well kept and colorful and the common areas have great murals that brighten it up quite a bit. The courtyard of the colonial building is charming and great for relaxing mid-day. There is a common kitchen open to all as well as a DVD player and collection in the living room. Overall, it was a very stylish affair.
Unique Qualities: Unique Qualities: Our room was very spacious with a comfortable, modern bed and nice nightstands with lamps. The private bath was again modern and had hot running water. The air-conditioning worked very well. In fact, with no blanket, it had to be put on very low while sleeping! It was however a great reprieve during the midday Mompós heat and we generally spent a few hours after lunch in there relaxing before heading back out for the afternoon photo shoot. They also had very modern rooms that had just been finished which were priced at 100000 COP ($50) which seemed very good quality if you are looking for a more upscale option.
Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: In steamy Mompós
Price: less than US$20
view from the tent just as sun came up
Laguna del Avellanal was indeed the jewel of the trek and we were rewarded with a surreal sunrise on the back of Piedra Negra, that glowed red despite its moniker. Getting there was another story. This was the day I started to truly wonder if we had bitten off more than we could chew with this trek. It seemed to go at a steady and steep angle the entire day and if it had mercifully stopped at Laguna de la Isla we might have been able to manage more than an exhausted sigh of relief on arrival. But no, there was another pass to cross and the drop to the lake was equally relentless, making the descent the evening before look like child's play. Despite our early start, we got there with barely enough time to set up camp and eat a hasty dinner before the temperatures dipped into the uncomfortably freezing range. I was out a few times that night to take a pee and saw stars so close I swore I could touch them and one particularly gleaming one that I deemed my recently passed away mother helping to guide us around a circuit that indeed always seemed a notch above our heads. While there was little in the way of any evening light, the morning proved more than compensatory with one of the best sunrises of the entire trek.
Unique Qualities: Surrounded by stunning peaks with great potential for dawn photo shoot.
Comparison: least expensive
Directions: In El Cocuy National Park
Price: less than US$20
a great courtyard was its key feature
As a general rule, we had steered clear of hostels when traveling around Colombia for the five weeks we had already been in the country. Though we had started out by staying in the country's most noted hostel, Bogota's Platypus, and did a brief stop at Mompos' Casa Amarilla, we had found budget hotels catering more to Colombians to be not only nicer but also better value. They were generally more quiet and with fewer backpackers, easier to keep to yourself when you wanted to. But as we headed to Salento, it was tough to avoid wanting to stay at The Plantation House. Reports were excellent and after a fun experience on La Ciudad Perdida group trek, we decided to give the hostel scene another go. We were glad we did as The Plantation House was everything it was said to be and provided us with a great place to stay as well take photos of what appeared to be a resident motmot!
Unique Qualities: The old wooden building has a lot of charm and is small enough to feel really cozy. There were times when it was a little noisy when we went to bed but it died down earlier enough to not be a real problem. We were going to bed pretty early to be fair. The people staying at the hostel were very friendly and a nice group that was easy to get along with. It didn't have the “can you top this” feeling you can get when sitting around with a group on this kind of circuit. The room was not very big but not overly cramped and was nicely if simply furnished. The communal baths were clean enough and featured tons of hot water. The kitchen was kept pretty clean too and a real plus was a fairly steady supply of fairly strong coffee that was free. There were nice places to sit on the veranda and this was the place's real plus as the grounds were quite lush with many birds. We spotted a gorgeous motmot both of our mornings there, who was a real poser too.
The owner is an English guy married to a Colombian woman and they have the cutest little girl who so obviously has her Daddy wrapped around her finger, very endearing. They do tours of their coffee plantation as well as organize things further afield but in no way are they pushy in “selling tours.” A really pleasant place to stay and can see why people wind up staying longer than planned.
We paid 37000 COP ($18.50) per night for our double room. You can definitely find cheaper in town but we felt it was a fair value room when taking in the overall ambiance.
Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: In Salento
Price: less than US$20
you get great quality in Colombia
Hospedaje Sol de La Villa was perhaps the most expensive place we stayed while traveling around Colombia for two months. It was also likely the very nicest and after an arduous multi-day trek in El Cocuy National Park, much deserved. Many people utilize these types of places to get very good value rooms at prices well below what you would pay “back home” and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. We were however traveling for two months and paying this much for a room each night would have put us well out of our budget but for a couple nights and as a reward, it was a great splurge. We actually got here quite by accident as I more or less misread the map, holding it upside down so instead of going to one of the less expensive places first to see if it was good enough, I went to a more mid-range place. I guess sometime things happen for a reason and we did enjoy our stay here immensely and helped begin a more relaxed time for us in Colombia.
Unique Qualities: The large hotel has a nice open feeling with staff very friendly and accommodating. A couple open courtyard areas add a relaxed flair and make each part seem a bit smaller and more inviting. There are lots of plants and great natural light. You could hang out here for hours and enjoy every minute of it. Our room was spacious and very nicely furnished with a big comfy hand-woven wool blanket and warm lighting, a very nice departure from the more common neon lights that you get in most budget places in South America. Our window opened into one of the courtyards which during our mid-week visit was always empty. The attached bathroom was totally modern and after over a week of backpacking in the wilderness, was a great joy. It truly is nice to not have to put your shoes on to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and great to come out of the shower and be able to lie in bed, all in one go. The shower was a glass-enclosure affair with very modern plumbing and an endless supply of hot water. Ah, luxury it was and very appreciated by my wife, how was in heaven these two days.
Breakfast was served off the lobby in a nice natural light area and consisted of very typical Colombian dishes like huevos pericos with warmly toasted arepas, orange juice, and a fair cup of coffee or hot chocolate. This was a great touch for us as we don't get rooms like this too often and to be able to slide back to the room after breakfast each morning was lovely.
My obviously dated guidebook had listed this place at 60,000 COP ($30) per night for a double but it had gone up to 80,000 COP by our January 2010 visit. Luckily, we came mid-week and had some bargaining power. When I said I was going to look around, the price was dropped to 70,000 as I was walking out. After looking around and seeing nothing nearly as nice for even that price, we decided to take it. It was a bit more than we wanted to pay but it was a very nice place and worthy splurge.
Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: In Villa de Leyva
Price: less than US$20
D brightens up any room
Accommodation in Colombia is generally of fairly high quality, especially compared to the rest of South America. With that raised quality comes higher prices as one might expect. All this said, the quality is quite variable even within a specific price range. So, it pays to shop around a bit particularly in the off-season. Obviously, tourist centers are most likely to have rooms of the best standard but even areas attracting primarily Colombian tourists can be well supplied in this category as well. Make no bones about it, Colombia has a definitely well-heeled upper class not ashamed to flash their money when it comes to a roof over their head and a pricey meal in their stomach.
Of course, not all Colombians are rich by no means and there are many budget options as well. As a general rule, accommodation is of reasonable value though to get a truly acceptable room, it is not cheap by South American standards though certainly less so that in both North America and Europe.
At the upper end, the sky is the limit. You could easily pay as much for a room in Colombia as anywhere but these options are not common and do not concern me as not only are they our of my price range but it is doubtful that I would pay that much for a room when there is so much more in life to spend money on. Of course, affordable is a subjective word but in the upper realm of this category expect to pay around $150 per night. Mid-range options can be had for under a $100 and perfectly nice lower end options abound for under $50. Budget accommodation is an expanding category and double rooms generally run around $25 for the nicer ones down to as little as $15 for acceptable rooms. There are certainly cheaper rooms but quality can be less than desired in the lowest priced options.
Unique Qualities: We were in Colombia for two months so were on a fairly tight budget, especially when it came to rooms. Saving $20 a night over a 60 day period is after all $1200 and that is money better spent on food or another trip to me. A room is a place I rest my head when I am tired and full of images. I don't need my room to compete with what I came to see in the first place. I believe the most we paid for a room in Colombia was $35 and that was in pricey Cartagena and it was a very nice room, albeit with a less than totally modern bathroom. It was spotlessly clean, tastefully furnished, had air-conditioning and nice if simple common areas. The staff was excellent and friendly. It seems in general, you get a very nice place for around $30 and that's not a per person price, it's for a double room. We had perfectly nice places if a bit less fancy for $20 too and that seems the cut off for what many would consider truly acceptable rooms. We had okay places for less and a few very cheap places for under $10 but the latter category showed that Colombia is not the cheapest place when it comes to rooms as these were generally not very nice and taken out of desperation as much as anything else.
Camping is another possibility and we even saw campgrounds right in some towns like Villa de Leyva. Though we are avid campers, it is not something we generally do when in South America unless we are doing a trek, preferring the comfort and relative inexpensive rooms compared to our home countries.
Below you will see a sampling of our very favorite rooms that we stayed in when traveling around Colombia for two months. All of my individual pages have accommodation tips as well so if heading to a particular destination, check them for more details.
Comparison: about average
Directions: Check individual pages for details but a small smattering of our favorites follows.
Price: less than US$20
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